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St Leonard's Church, Wollaton -interior
A P Knighton
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The church originally dates back to the 12th century, but was rebuilt and enlarged in subsequent centuries. In the Domesday Book (1086) there is no mention of a church at the place it calls Olaveston, but a rudimentary church perhaps existed. The doorway shows that by 1200 there was a stone building on the site. The list of rectors goes back at least to 1236. Since then St Leonard's has been added to and altered to meet the changing needs of each generation. In the past only the local landowner had the means to build and maintain a church. The Mortein family were responsible in the early days and then the Willoughby family looked after the building as part of their wider estate for six centuries up to 1925. Their descendant, Lord Middleton, as patron of the parish, still has a role to play in the appointment of a new rector. Their Elizabethan mansion and its park are close by at Wollaton Hall. The mining of coal for hundreds of years ensured the prosperity of Wollaton and its owners. The church was extended at the end of the Middle Ages and again in 1880. From the 1920s Wollaton was drawn into the expanding suburbs of the City of Nottingham and the building was enlarged further in 1970.